Procuring Plastics in the Welsh Public Sector – A Guide

8th November 2019

We have been working with WRAP Cymru and Sustainable Global Resources to develop a guide for procuring plastics in the Welsh public sector.

400,000 tonnes of plastic waste were generated in Wales in 2014, with a growing body of evidence indicating that waste not collected for recycling is accumulating in rivers and oceans around the globe.

The guidance comes at a crucial time – WRAP Cymru’s ‘Towards a Plastics Routemap for Wales’  recommends that by 2025, all plastic products and packaging procured by Welsh public bodies should be reusable, recyclable and include recycled content – and hence, provides a mechanism for taking responsible action on plastic by supporting the decision-making processes within the public sector.

The guide aims to provide public sector bodies with information on how best to tackle the environmental impact of plastic used in their activities. It focuses on single-use plastic and plastic packaging, with a particular focus on catering consumables.

The information will enable public bodies to make informed decisions that consider the full impact of plastic, ensuring that procurement choices do not result in unintended consequences such as increased food waste or additional carbon emissions.

The guide outlines a decision-making process for public bodies, gives details of different kinds of plastics and their environmental impact, maps cost implications of different material choices and provides template wording for procurement specifications to maximise the efficiency of the process. It is available to download from the WRAP website here.

Bettina Gilbert, WRAP Cymru’s Organisational Behaviour Change Programme Manager, said:

We’re pleased to have produced this guidance which will help Welsh public procurers to make more considered decisions when addressing the plastics challenge. We’ve had positive feedback from those using the guidance already from within Wales and further afield, so we’d encourage people to use and share it as widely as possible.”

Alex Forrest, our project lead, said:

“We hope that this guide enables the Welsh public sector to take into consideration life-cycle thinking when making decisions about procuring plastics. It’s more important than ever that we make sure decisions taken to reduce plastic use don’t end up contributing more carbon emissions, or generate more waste, further down the line. The guide will enable procurement decision makers to take a full view of the impact of their choices, empowering them to make decisions that are best for the environment.”

Photo courtesy of John Loo, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.